South African Passport Power Remains Stable in 2019

The South African passport remains stable in 2019 on the latest Henley Passport Index. South Africa, ranked 53rd globally, continues to occupy 3rd place in the Sub-Saharan Africa region, following the Seychelles, ranked 27th globally, and Mauritius, ranked 31st globally. Somalia, Libya, and Eritrea sit at the bottom of the index in Africa, each only able to access 35 or fewer destinations visa-free.

Japan goes into the new year holding 1st place on the Henley Passport Index, with citizens enjoying visa-free/visa-on-arrival access to 190 destinations. In a further display of Asian passport power, Singapore and South Korea now sit in joint 2nd place, with access to 189 destinations around the globe. This marks a new high for South Korea, which moved up the ranking following a recent visa-on-arrival agreement with India. Germany and France remain in 3rd place going into 2019, with a visa-free/visa-on-arrival score of 188.

The US and the UK continue to drop down the Henley Passport Index — which is based on authoritative data from the International Air Transport Association (IATA) — and now sit in joint 6th place, with access to 185 destinations. This is a significant fall from the 1st place position that these countries held in 2015. Denmark, Finland, Italy, and Sweden now hold joint 4th place, while Spain and Luxembourg are in 5th. As they have done for much of the index’s 14-year history, Iraq and Afghanistan remain at the bottom of the ranking, with access to just 30 visa-free destinations.

Turkey’s recent introduction of an online e-Visa service has resulted in some interesting changes to the overall rankings. As of October 2018, citizens of over 100 countries (including Canada, the UK, Norway, and the US) must apply for an e-Visa before they travel to Turkey, instead of being able to do so on arrival. While this specific change means that a number of countries have dropped slightly in the rankings, it does not alter the overwhelmingly positive effect of the wider global tendency towards visa-openness and mutually beneficial agreements. Historical data from the Henley Passport Index shows that in 2006, a citizen, on average, could travel to 58 destinations without needing a visa from the host nation; by the end of 2018, this number had nearly doubled to 107.

Amanda Smit Director of Henley & Partners South Africa and Head of Central, East and Southern African, says this latest ranking shows that despite rising isolationist sentiment in some parts of the world, many countries remain committed to collaboration. “The Henley Passport Index is an important tool for measuring not only the relative strength of the world’s passports but also the extraordinary results that states can achieve when they work hand in hand with their global peers to build a more interconnected and collaborative world. South Korea and the United Arab Emirates’ recent ascent in the rankings are further examples of what happens when countries take a proactive foreign affairs approach, an attitude which significantly benefits their citizens as well as the international community.”

Countries Continue to Embrace Mutually Beneficial Migration

Asian countries’ continued dominance of the Henley Passport Index reflects the extraordinary effect that international mobility and migration has had on the region. The full scope of this impact is explored in the recently launched 2019 edition of the Henley Passport Index and Global Mobility Report – a unique publication that offers cutting-edge analysis and commentary from leading scholars and professional experts on the latest trends shaping international and regional mobility patterns today.

As is clear from the United Arab Emirates’ continued upward trajectory, the Middle Eastern powerhouse has taken a similar approach to Asian high performers. Now holding top spot in the region at 22nd place globally on the Henley-IATA index, with its citizens able to access 164 destinations around the globe, the nation recently signed agreements with a number of countries, including Mexico, Japan, and Sierra Leone. Commenting on the UAE’s recent partnerships with African nations, Ryan Cummings, Director of Signal Risk, says: “The United Arab Emirates has demonstrated a penchant for reciprocating visa deregulation as the country aims to attract diverse skill-sets and increase the power of its own passport.”

Cummings suggests that the African continent would also benefit from this more expansive approach: “Africa continues to lag behind the rest of the world. That said, it is certainly moving in the right direction in terms of enhancing visa openness. Over the past year, several African countries – notably Angola, Ethiopia, Kenya, Namibia and Senegal – relaxed visa requirements, with the intention of enhancing trade, co-operation, and security.”

Citizenship-by-investment countries consolidate their respective positions

As in 2018, countries with citizenship-by-investment (CBI) programs continue to hold their strong positions. Malta, for instance, sits in 9th spot, with access to 182 destinations around the world. St. Kitts and Nevis and Antigua and Barbuda hold 27th and 28th spot respectively, while Moldova remains in a strong position at 46th place, with citizens able to access 122 countries. A recent agreement signed between St. Kitts and Nevis and Belarus, due to come into effect in the coming months, will further strengthen the St. Kitts and Nevis passport, and enhance the travel freedom of its citizens.

Smit concludes: “CBI programs offer access to some of the world’s strongest and most promising passports, and the strength of these reflects the underlying stability and attractiveness of the countries themselves. The travel freedom that comes with a second passport is significant for individuals, while the economic and societal value that CBI programs generate for host countries can be transformative.”

 

 

For information as to how Relocation Africa can help you with your Mobility, Immigration, Research, Remuneration, and Expat Tax needs, email marketing@relocationafrica.com, or call us on +27 21 763 4240.

Sources: [1], [2]. Image sources: [1], [2].

SA Home Affairs White Paper to Clearly Set Out Mandate for First Time

The proposed white paper on home affairs will not change the mandate of the home affairs department, but for the first time its full mandate will be clearly set out, Home Affairs Minister Siyabonga Cwele said on Sunday.

“We are digging the foundations for a modern, secure, and professional home affairs. In this pursuit we invite interested persons and organisations to submit written comments to the white paper on home affairs by 18 February 2019,” he said at a media briefing in Pretoria.

The white paper sought to find sustainable solutions to the problems the department faced, including those relating to long queues, staff shortages, infrastructure, office space, connectivity, and networks, he said.

After consideration of these comments, a final draft white paper would be tabled to cabinet for approval. Once approved, the paper would represent a solid policy platform that would define the mandate of the department of home affairs and guide its legislation, strategy, and operations.

“The white paper does not change the mandate of home affairs, but for the first time its full mandate is clearly set out,” Cwele said.

The first mandate was to manage the official identity and status of persons. The current national population register was being replaced by a secure and fully inclusive national identity system (NIS) which would reflect key data related to identity, civic, and immigration status of all persons.

In a digital age, the NIS would be the backbone of a more integrated modern state that provided citizens and other clients fast access to efficient services. It would thus be a powerful enabler of inclusive economic development and would drastically reduce fraud and other related crimes.

The second mandate of the department was to manage international migration. The 2017 white paper on international migration had been incorporated into the policy framework and aimed to regulate international migration in South Africa’s national interest and in the interest of a better and safer world.

“Migration can be a powerful driver of domestic and regional development, but this requires a state that has efficient systems, professional staff, and the capacity to enforce its immigration laws,” Cwele said.

The third mandate was to manage asylum seekers and refugees. South Africa was committed to providing protection to persons who had a well-founded fear of persecution, as defined in the Refugees Act. This was a responsibility that should be shared with other countries, international bodies, and domestic stakeholders.

An implementation strategy and a broad road map were provided that showed how significant benefits could be progressively realised after the launch of a comprehensive repositioning programme, he said.

Over the next financial year (2019/ 2020) the strategic focus of the department would be on putting in place the enabling conditions for the launch of a full-scale repositioning programme. This would include detailed design and costing of a modern and secure home affairs department in consultation with all stakeholders and partners.

“The white paper details the main implementation phases of the repositioning programme. The envisioned end-state is the replacement of the old legacy model and its replacement with a world-class government department that is properly resourced,” Cwele said.

The White Paper is available here.

 

For information as to how Relocation Africa can help you with your Mobility, Immigration, Research, Remuneration, and Expat Tax needs, email marketing@relocationafrica.com, or call us on +27 21 763 4240.

Sources: [1], [2]. Image sources: [1], [2].

What are the Legal Options for Zimbabweans in SA who Fear Going Back Home?

Zimbabweans currently in South Africa have the once-off option to extend their visa exemptions for a further 90 days if they haven’t done so already, says immigration lawyer William Le Roux.

Many Zim nationals fear to return their homeland amid the ongoing unrest over the high cost of living and drastic full price hike.

“They are able to extend their visas for a further 90 days, but they can only do that once from within South Africa. After they have done that once, then they would need to leave the country”, Le Roux said.

Le Roux says the alternative option for Zimbabweans is to overstay their visitor’s visa and submit an authorisation application

Visa authorisation applications, also known as a letter of good cause, allow for visa applications from within South Africa.

“The Director-General of Home Affairs can authorise you to make an application for a visa, despite the fact that you don’t have legal status in the country. People who are in the country illegally cannot apply for a new visa within the country unless the DG tells them that they may”, he commented.

Click here to listen to the full discussion from CapeTalk’s The Eusebius McKaiser Show.

 

 

For information as to how Relocation Africa can help you with your Mobility, Immigration, Research, Remuneration, and Expat Tax needs, email marketing@relocationafrica.com, or call us on +27 21 763 4240.

Sources: [1], [2]. Image sources: [1], [2].

International Tourist Arrivals to Africa Grew 7% Above the World Average in 2018: Report

Africa and Middle East Middle East grew above the world average while Asia and the Pacific and Europe grew at 6%; 2018 totaled 1.4 billion international tourist arrivals, consolidating 2017 strong results and proving to be the second strongest year since 2010; for 2019, UNWTO forecasts a 3-4% increase, in line with the historical growth trend.

International tourist arrivals grew 6% in 2018, totaling 1.4 billion according to the latest UNWTO World Tourism Barometer. UNWTO’s long term forecast issued in 2010 indicated the 1.4 billion mark would be reached in 2020, yet the remarkable growth of international arrivals in recent years has brought it two years ahead.

UNWTO estimates that worldwide international tourist arrivals (overnight visitors) increased 6% to 1.4 billion in 2018, clearly above the 3.7% growth registered in the global economy.

In relative terms, the Middle East (+10%), Africa (+7%), Asia and the Pacific and Europe (both at +6%) led growth in 2018. Arrivals to the Americas were below the world average (+3%).

“The growth of tourism in recent years confirms that the sector is today one of the most powerful drivers of economic growth and development. It is our responsibility to manage it in a sustainable manner and translate this expansion into real benefits for all countries, and particularly, to all local communities, creating opportunities for jobs and entrepreneurship and leaving no one behind” said UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili. “This is why UNWTO is focussing 2019 on education, skills and job creation.”, he added.

UNWTO’s long-term forecast published in 2010 predicted the 1.4 billion mark of international tourist arrivals for 2020. Yet stronger economic growth, more affordable air travel, technological changes, new businesses models and greater visa facilitation around the word have accelerated growth in recent years.

International tourist arrivals in Europe reached 713 million in 2018, a notable 6% increase over an exceptionally strong 2017. Growth was driven by Southern and Mediterranean Europe (+7%), Central and Eastern Europe (+6%) and Western Europe (+6%). Results in Northern Europe were flat due to the weakness of arrivals to the United Kingdom.

Asia and the Pacific (+6%) recorded 343 million international tourist arrivals in 2018. Arrivals in South-East Asia grew 7%, followed by North-East Asia (+6%) and South Asia (+5%). Oceania showed more moderate growth at +3%.

The Americas (+3%) welcomed 217 million international arrivals in 2018, with mixed results across destinations. Growth was led by North America (+4%), and followed by South America (+3%), while Central America and the Caribbean (both -2%) reached very mixed results, the latter reflecting the impact of the September 2017 hurricanes Irma and Maria.

Data from Africa points to a 7% increase in 2018 (North Africa at +10% and Sub-Saharan +6%), reaching an estimated 67 million arrivals. The Middle East (+10%) showed solid results last year consolidating its 2017 recovery, with international tourist arrivals reaching 64 million.

Based on current trends, economic prospects and the UNWTO Confidence Index, UNWTO forecasts international arrivals to grow 3% to 4% next year, more in line with historic growth trends.

As a general backdrop, the stability of fuel prices tends to translate into affordable air travel while air connectivity continues to improve in many destinations, facilitating the diversification of source markets.

Trends also show strong outbound travel from emerging markets, especially India and Russia but also from smaller Asian and Arab source markets.
At the same time, the global economic slowdown, the uncertainty related to the Brexit, as well as geopolitical and trade tensions may prompt a “wait and see” attitude among investors and travellers.

Overall, 2019 is expected to see the consolidation among consumers of emerging trends such as the quest for ‘travel to change and to show’, ‘the pursuit of healthy options’ such as walking, wellness and sports tourism, ‘multigenerational travel’ as a result of demographic changes and more responsible travel.
“Digitalisation, new business models, more affordable travel and societal changes are expected to continue shaping our sector, so both destination and companies need to adapt if they want to remain competitive”, added Pololikashvili.

 

For information as to how Relocation Africa can help you with your Mobility, Immigration, Research, Remuneration, and Expat Tax needs, email marketing@relocationafrica.com, or call us on +27 21 763 4240.

Sources: [1], [2]. Image sources: [1], [2].

2.3 Million Young Africans Learned Digital Skills During Africa Code Week

Africa Code Week (ACW) 2018 exceeded all expectations by empowering 2.3 million youth across 37 countries with digital and coding skills – compared to 1.3 million youth engaged across 35 African countries in the previous edition.

According to Cathy Smith, Managing Director of SAP Africa, the resounding success of Africa Code Week is a wake-up call unveiling what the young generation actually needs and rightfully expects: “young people in Africa don’t just need opportunities: they need to know how to take the first steps to get there. They need role models and guidance.”

Capacity building as the cornerstone of youth empowerment

From an initial focus of introducing coding skills to African youth and raising awareness of the importance of digital education, ACW key partners focused and augmented efforts in 2018 to sustain the impact of the programme through capacity-building with governments, schools and NPOs. As a result, close to 23,000 teachers were trained on the ACW digital learning curriculum in the run-up to October 2018 events. Leveraging Africa Code Week to accelerate nationwide ICT capacity building since 2015, Morocco stands out again this year with a record of 5,208 teachers trained throughout the year 2018. Tunisia and Nigeria follow with respectively 2,800 and 2,553 teachers trained this year.

“There is only one way to bring the promises of the Fourth Industrial Revolution to the young generation: through a reference point, and that reference point is the teacher,” says Davide Storti, YouthMobile Initiative Coordinator at UNESCO’s Knowledge Societies Division. “We look forward to furthering dialogue with governments, so we can translate the powerful partnerships and networking built by and around Africa Code Week into long-term programmes that sustain the excitement around 21st century learning.”

Fast-growing stakeholder commitment

Launched in 2015 by SAP’s Corporate Social Responsibility EMEA department, ACW is an award-winning initiative taking place every year in the month of October. It is now actively supported by key partners UNESCO YouthMobile, Google, the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), the Cape Town Science Centre, the Camden Education Trust, 28 African governments, over 130 implementing partners and 120 ambassadors across the continent.

According to Alexandra van der Ploeg, Head of Global Corporate Social Responsibility at SAP, “fostering powerful partnerships with a sharp focus on capacity building is one of Africa Code Week’s strengths, and a solid cornerstone as it strives to not only support UN Sustainable Development Goal 4 (‘Ensure quality and inclusive education for all’), but also SDG 17 which aims to ‘strengthen and revitalise the global partnership for sustainable development’. This fourth edition saw unprecedented collaboration from our public and private sector stakeholders, as well as from NGOs, to train more teachers and reach more young people than ever before,” she says.

Supporting Africa Code Week for the third year in a row, Google expanded their grant allocations to support more organisations in their efforts to inspire a new generation of digital African workers. In 2018, Google micro grants were awarded to 53 non-profit organisations to facilitate teacher trainings and coding workshops in both urban and rural areas, allowing 100,000+ youth across 11 countries to be exposed to computer science (CS) and coding skills – 57% of which were girls.

Empowering girls, reaching the unreached

More than 46% of this year’s 2.3 million participants were female, reflecting a huge appetite for digital skills development among Africa’s girls. Dedicated grants came in from key partner BMZ, who has been supporting ACW since 2016 as part of the #eSkills4Girls initiative. This year, BMZ awarded 20 grants to organisations across 15 emerging and developing countries, introducing 13,791 girls to digital skills and employment perspectives. SAP further collaborated with UNESCO and BMZ/GIZ to strengthen the gender component of the Train-the-Teacher package for Africa Code Week.

“Female representation in African companies in STEM-related fields currently stands at only 30%, requiring powerful public-private partnerships to start turning the tide and creating more equitable opportunities for African youth to contribute to the continent’s economic development and success,” concludes Sunil Geness, Director of Government Relations and CSR at SAP Africa and Global Coordinator of ACW 2018.

More partners joined forces this year to reach youth with special needs or living in remote areas. In Botswana for instance, more than 150 children got to touch a computer and code for the first time using solar-powered devices. Mining company and SAP partner Debswana aligned their own CSR programme to Africa Code Week, engaging 1,181 children at their Orapa Mine alone. In Mozambique, ACW volunteers joined forces with INAGE and Mapal to train teachers from special needs schools, who in turn were able to introduce coding skills to hundreds of hearing-impaired students. Another highlight came from Cameroon, where Train-the-Trainer sessions were organised in October 2018 for vision-impaired teachers in Yaounde’s CMPJ.

About Africa Code Week

Spearheaded by SAP CSR EMEA in 2015 as part of its social investments to drive sustainable growth in Africa, Africa Code Week is a digital skills development initiative that has benefitted over 4 million young Africans across 37 countries so far. Strong partnerships with the public, private and non-profit sectors are the driving force behind the initiative’s ambitious goals to build community capacity in ICT education across the entire continent. Actively supported by key partners (UNESCO YouthMobile, Google, the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), the Cape Town Science Centre and the Camden Education Trust), 28 African governments, over 130 implementing partners and 120 ambassadors across the continent, Africa Code Week is driving sustainable learning impact to help bridge the digital and gender skills gap in Africa. The fourth edition of Africa Code Week took place in October 2018, benefitting 2.3 million young Africans across 37 countries. Click here to find out more.

 

For information as to how Relocation Africa can help you with your Mobility, Immigration, Research, Remuneration, and Expat Tax needs, email marketing@relocationafrica.com, or call us on +27 21 763 4240.

Sources: [1], [2]. Image sources: [1], [2].